Top Ten Illegal Debt Collection Tactics You Should Know
Third-party debt-collection agencies are in the business of collecting on old debts. As a result, they’ll often use tough tactics to achieve their goals. When a debt collection agency crosses the line, their improper or illegal behavior can cause serious damage to consumers.
While an experienced Florida debt collection attorney offers you personalized “front-line” protection against debt collector harassment, you also can take steps to protect yourself by knowing which practices are illegal.
The following “top ten” tactics are prohibited by Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices Act, according to the Florida Office of Financial Regulation:
- Pretending to be a law enforcement officer, a representative of a government agency, or an attorney. Some debt collectors might impersonate one of these parties to scare you into paying. However, it is illegal for debt collectors to lie about their relationship with police, a government office, or an attorney.
- Telling your employer or another third party about the debt. Financial information is confidential in many ways. Threatening to reveal it is prohibited.
- Harassing the consumer with abusive language or other tactics. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) protects you from a number of harassing means of communication, as well as from abusive language.
- Threatening the consumer with violence. One of the most frightening of harassing or abusive-language tactics is the threat of violence. It is prohibited by law.
- Calling outside of authorized hours. The FDCPA requires debt collectors to limit their calls to 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time, or to a time you tell them they may call.
- Attempting to enforce a debt that is not a legitimate debt. Third-party debt collectors often attempt to get you to pay a debt that is not your debt, that is the wrong amount, or that was never owed in the first place.
- Reporting negative credit information without acknowledging a dispute. If you have disputed the debt – and your attorney can help you do so properly – then the debt-collection agency must admit this if they report negative credit information to credit bureaus about you.
- Refusing to identify themselves if asked. You have the right to know who is contacting you about your debt. If you ask for identification, debt collectors are required to provide it.
- Causing you to have to pay collect call or telegram fees by not being forthright about why they are contacting you. You shouldn’t have to pay for a collect call just to find out that you’re being called by a debt collector.
- Contacting you when they know you have an attorney. Once you are represented by an attorney, debt collectors need to communicate with your lawyer – and leave you alone.
It’s important to be familiar with what collection tactics are illegal so you can protect yourself.
At Disparti Law Group, our experienced Florida debt harassment prevention lawyers can help you stop harassing debt collectors in their tracks while protecting the confidentiality of your financial information. Contact us today to learn more.